By Vandita Rajpal from Rajkot Hosted in Finland on AFS Programs 2018

“17th August 2018 is when I began a journey of experiencing archives of moments from my dream exchange in a country having an excellent education system, the safest and happiest place- Finland. It is always a brave decision to go for a year exchange, getting out of your world and entering a dynamic journey. I was very excited to know that I’ll be going to Finland, a lot of emotions were sinking in me. And finally, my curiosity halted. In Finland, I was placed in a wonderful and a big family and an art school and since I was grooming in such a well-mannered surrounding it developed my various personal goals like punctuality, being independent, skeptical of stereotypes, ambitious and flexible.

I build many intercultural friendships which taught me to seek out and interact with people from different cultures and become more aware of other traditions and most importantly became self-aware as one learns the most about their own culture by getting out of it. In school, I participated in various activities and learned innumerable new skills like foreign language skills (learning Finnish), debating, skiing, swimming, playing guitar, scouting, community service (earning a bit and a gesture to pay back my Finnish community) and the most special one participating in European Youth Parliament. These activities helped me become fully aware of daily living and working arrangements with a variety of people in the new environment. I attended a regional session and got an opportunity to go for the nationals and 7 of 70 delegates of us were selected to represent our Finnish delegation in the internationals. We also got an opportunity to attend a European seminar in Brussels and visit the European Union. I also went for a mini Euro tour visiting 7 other European countries with my lovely isä and äiti (father and mother).

I highly recommend students of all ages to go for an exchange as it teaches you to handle tricky or seemingly tricky situations with a calm, happy or crazy approach. Being close to the Finnish community also ignited me to teleport efficient Finnish doings in our country. My desire to some good for our nation has way increased.

I am extremely grateful to my family and friends there who loved me so well, of course, my family and friends, teachers, both my school (Finnish and Indian) and AFS to give me this incredible exposure and to let me live my dream and life in just a year.​”